Raw Caramel Slice

Base

  • ¾ cup almonds
  • ½ cup mixed nuts seeds. I used cashews & brazil nuts)
  • ¾ cup coconut
  • ¼ cup coconut oil

Caramel

  • 8-10 medjool dates pitted
  • 1/3 cup (85g) nut butter
  • ¼ cup (40g) tahini
  • pinch Himalayan salt
  • 1 heaped dessertspoon mesquite powder
  • 1 heaped dessertspoon maca powder

Chocolate

  • ¼ cup (60g) coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup (40g) cacao
  • 1 tablespoon coconut butter
  • 1 tablespoon (20g) rice malt syrup

Method

  • Base: Place all ingredients in a thermomix or food processor and process for 30-60 seconds or until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Press the mixture into the base of a 20cm x 20cm* lightly greased and lined baking tin & refrigerate until set.
  • Caramel: Place all ingredients in a thermomix or food processor and process for 1–2 minutes or until smooth. Add a small amount of water if mixture is a little too thick. Spread over the prepared base and return to the fridge.
  • Chocolate: Place all ingredients in thermomix and combine at 50 degrees, speed 2 for 1 minute. Alternately, melt in a saucepan over a low heat until combined. Pour over the top of your slice & place in fridge until set.
  • The previous layer should be set by the time you are ready to add the next one
  • *I actually just make this in one of my large glass Pyrex storage containers. (26×16) Then I just put the lid on & have minimal dishes.

 

raw choc caramel slice

Chicken Bone Broth

Chicken Bone Broth

Making your own broth is super easy and an excellent way to spend some time on the weekend.

Stock is really nutritious as it is full of minerals and electrolytes, it aids digestion and soothes the gut. Given stock is cooked slowly over time it is an excellent way to get protein into your diet and it is easy for the body to uptake the nutritional value within it for the same reason. Store bought stocks are very processed and usually laden with extra salt and flavouring, plus making your own will make you feel like Maggie Beer (my kitchen hero.) If you are pregnant, your cooked stock will be highly nutritious so it ticks all the boxes for you & your growing baby.

When I make stock, it is always a little different every time depending on what veggies I have on hand. Here is the basic recipe for you.

Ingredients

makes 3-4 litres

  • 1 whole organic chicken (or 2-3 frames), plus some extra bits if possible. I usually ask my lovely butcher for some extra necks and feet, otherwise you can add in some wings or drumsticks.
  • 4 litres of filtered water (to cover chicken in the pot)
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 leek
  • 1-2 sticks of celery
  • 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • a few bay leaves
  • a few sprigs thyme, sage or chives (whatever you have handy)
  • a dash of apple cider vinegar (this draws the minerals out of the bones and into your broth.)

Method

  1. Roughly chop the veggies
  2. Put all ingredients into a big soup pot and cover with water. Add extra if you need to as it important that everything is well covered.
  3. Add apple cider vinegar & let sit for 20-30minutes
  4. Bring to the boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for as long as you can. Minimum of 3 hours, I like to aim for at least 6-7 hours. Alternately, use your slow cooker on low for 24hours.
  5. Pul out the bigger bits of chicken and then pour the stock through a sieve.
  6. Discard the veggies (I feed mine to our dogs)
  7. Pour the stock into a container large enough to hold it and once it has cooled slightly, place it in the fridge to allow the fat to settle on the top.
  8. Pick all the chicken off the bones and keep it. If you are making chicken soup, you can use it straight away, otherwise freeze extra chicken in portions and add to salads, soups and snacks.
  9. If you are making soup, use the stock that you need and freeze unused portions. I usually do this in various sizes; I pour into an ice block container, freeze and then store cubes in ziplock bags. Also some bigger 300-500ml blocks so I can use it later to make a quick soup- with leftover chicken and some veggies or when I am cooking other things.

Stock keeps for about 5 days in the fridge and several months in the freezer, just ensure that it is airtight.

If I am planning on making stock and have recently roasted a chicken I will freeze the roasted carcass & add that to my stock pot too.

chicken

Berry Nut Muffins

These Berry Nut Muffins are gluten free and just sweet enough to satisfy any sweet craving you may have. They are perfect for a nourishing snack on the go or a middle of the night snack for a breastfeeding mumma!

Fortunately, I made a big batch of these the afternoon before my daughter was born. Those first few nights I would wake up to feed her and be incredibly hungry myself so these muffins were perfect. I tested them out on my midwives too when they came to visit us in the first week and the recipe was given the tick of approval.

Makes 18 muffins.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup almond meal
  • ¾ cup buckwheat flour
  • ½ cup of Chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 1 teaspooon of ground ginger
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed or ½ cup stewed fruit such as apple
  • 450ml (1 ¾ cups) of non dairy milk- either nut milk or coconut milk
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) coconut oil (as liquid)
  • 1 cup of berries, frozen or fresh
  • 1 cup of nuts roughly chopped – I use walnuts & pecans, although brazil nuts work nicely in the mix.

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees and grease or line a muffin tin
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Combine the banana, milk and coconut oil in a separate large bowl.
  4. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and combine.
  5. Fold through the berries and walnuts
  6. Fill prepared tray with mixture and bake for 20 – 25 minutes

Berry Nut Muffins

winter porridge

I am not a huge fan of traditional porridge, but as the weather starts to get rather chilly there is something about starting the day with a warm & nourishing breakfast.

 

porridge

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond milk or 1 1/2 cups coconut milk & 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup of quinoa flakes
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • Optional: 3 tablespoons mesquite powder
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey (I don’t use this, but add if you feel you need a little sweetener.)

 

Method

Overnight soak

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and leave overnight to soak, covered.

Stovetop

  1. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients & stir gently over medium heat for 7-10 minutes. It will be the consistency of traditional porridge.

To serve

I prefer to eat my porridge with a little stewed fruit, coconut yoghurt & activated buckinis.

You could also use sliced banana with cinnamon, fresh berries and chopped raw nuts.

 

Nourishing a pregnant body. Part 2

Slow cooked foods are a wonderful thing for both pregnant and breastfeeding women to eat. Food that is slowly cooked over time, especially when it contains bones and lots of vegetables is highly nourishing and easy for the body to uptake the nutritional value and to digest. This lamb shank recipe contains bone marrow which is rich in spingolipids, which are specialized fats that protect cell membranes against environmental insults and that are critical components of the brain and nervous system & support optimum development.

Slow Cooked Turmeric Lamb

Ingredients

Serves 6-8 (otherwise there will be leftovers!)

  • 2 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4-6 lamb shanks, frenched.
  • 750g lamb shoulder, trimmed, diced into 3cm pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic*
  • 1 onion or 2 shallots*
  • 3 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)*
  • 2x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups of vegetable stock
  • 3 cups Kale or spinach or combination – roughly chopped
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 2-4 carrots, chopped.
  • 1/3 cup (45g) slivered almonds (optional)
  • Fresh coriander to garnish

*Omit garlic and onions if cooking for a breast-feeding mum.

Method

  • I use my big Le Creuset pot for this, you could also use a slow cooker.
  • Finely chop garlic & onion then set aside
  • Heat 1/2 of the oil in the pan & brown lamb in 2-3 batches depending on size of pan. Set aside.
  • Cook onions & garlic with spices in remaining oil until fragrant and onions have softened
  • Add lamb, tinned tomatoes and stock, ensuring lamb is well covered.
  • Cook in oven on 140-150degrees for minimum of 90 minutes. 2-3+ hours is best. Alternately cook in your slow cooker,
  • With 20 minutes to go, add carrot & zucchini.
  • Just prior to serving, add chopped kale and stir until kale has wilted.
  • Serve on steamed brown rice/cauliflower rice with almonds and fresh coriander sprinkled over the top.

lamb

Eggs

IMG_3410

Chicken eggs are the most commonly eaten eggs and they supply all essential amino acids for humans, thus making them a complete protein source.

Eggs also contain other vitamins and minerals including vitamin A (retinol) Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin,) Vitamin B9 (folic acid,) Vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Whilst found in lower quantities than in red meats, eggs may also be a source of CoQ10 (depending on how they are prepared.) The egg is one of the few foods to naturally contain vitamin D.

All of the egg’s vitamins A, D and E, are in the egg yolk, as is just under half the protein content and most of the other nutrients. The egg yolk also contains all of the choline, which is an important nutrient for development of the brain. This makes it particularly important for women who are planning on becoming pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding as it contributes to healthy foetal brain development.

Unsurprisingly, the diet of laying hens can greatly affect the nutritional quality of the eggs that they produce. Pasture raised & truly free range hens which forage largely for their own food also tend to produce eggs with higher nutritional quality than standard factory and cage raised eggs.

So when choosing your eggs, organic and truly free range is best. Your local farmers market is also a great place to buy your eggs as you can ask the seller about the conditions of his or her chickens. If you have your own chickens- lucky you!


Easy Fritatta

This is one of my go to recipes for lunch when I am hungry & I don’t have anything prepared. It takes 20 minutes max including cooking time.

  • 6-8 eggs from happy hens
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow capsicum, finely sliced
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Dash macadamia oil or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach leaves, washed
  • Optional: cheese such as1/4 cup finely chopped haloumi, feta or some freshly grated parmesan

Note: anything goes here, you could add some mushrooms, chopped broccoli, fresh herbs, olives, sun dried tomatoes, leftover roast veggies or whatever else you have handy.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. In a pan, sauté your veggies over high heat for a few minutes until soft, stir through spinach leaves & cheese.
  3. Pour into a fritatta pan or a 20cm baking dish, lined with baking paper
  4. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and add a little oil or almond milk to combine
  5. Pour egg mixture into pan and spread evenly.
  6. Place in oven & bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Serve with a green salad.

fritatta

Shakshouka – Moroccan Egg Tagine

Adapted from Plenty by Yottam Ottolenghi

Tagine’s are wonderful for cooking slow cooked stews and curries but they can also makes this delicious breakfast (or lunch or dinner) dish.

Shakshouka, meaning ‘all mixed up,’ is a staple in many North African and Middle Eastern countries.

For the basic recipe, the eggs are cooked in onion, tomatoes, peppers and spices such as cumin and paprika. Depending on who is making it, Shakshouka may also contain lamb mince, hot green chilli or spicy sausage. The dish is usually both cooked in & served out of a cast iron pan but it also works really well in a tagine, which is how I made it. This way, you can just make 1 big dish rather than a few smaller pans.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 eggs, free range and organic if possible. (depending on the size of your pan.)
  • 1 small red chili, chopped
  • 1/2 small Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 medium red capsicum, sliced into small strips
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes, canned or fresh (or use tomato passata)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Moroccan spices- use what you have. (Combination of paprika, cumin, coriander seeds & cayenne pepper)
  • Pinch salt
  • Fresh parsley & coriander, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil and dukkah to drizzle/sprinkle on top

Optional: Choose either;

  • 2-3 rashes of bacon, diced
  • 1 small spicy sausage chopped
  • 1 cup cooked chicken or any other leftover meat.
  • 200g minced meat

Method

  1. Using either your tagine or a fry pan with a lid, brown off the bacon, sausage or mince. Once cooked through, pour into a small bowl. If you are using some leftover meat that has been cooked, omit this step.
  2. Sauté onion, capsicum and chilli in some oil in your pan until fragrant then add a pinch of salt. Usually 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic & moroccan spices and stir through.
  4. Add your protein (sausage, bacon, chicken or mince) along with the tomatoes and stir through.
  5. Cover and cook on low heat for 12-15 minutes, stirring a few times.
  6. With a spoon, make 4-6 wells in the mixture and crack an egg into each. Sprinkle the egg yolk with a little salt and pepper, cover with the hood and cook on low heat until the egg whites settle and firm but the egg yolks stay slightly gooey. Do this to your liking- I prefer my yolks more well cooked whilst my husband likes his really soft. Take care not to overcook though as they will continue to cook after you remove the pan from the heat. .
  7. Serve eggs in the tagine sprinkled with some fresh parsley and coriander, a little drizzle of olive or avocado oil and some dukkah spices.

Total time: prep and coking 25-30 minutes.

Number of servings: 2-4 (depending on how hungry you are!)

tagine

 

Nourishing a pregnant body.

One of the (many) challenging things a pregnant woman faces is “what should I eat?” I have had a number of conversations with pregnant friends and patients over the last few weeks on this very topic. Ideally the best way to nourish your body and meet the nutritional needs of you and your baby is to eat a wide variety of nutritious, unprocessed foods.  However this can be challenged by several factors; nausea and morning (all day sickness), food aversions, heightened sense of smell and fatigue.

During the first trimester and sometimes continuing into the second, many pregnant women want plain for and often find themselves eating more toast and rice cakes than they ever have before. Pregnancy is a time when it is very important to regularly listen to your body and to give it what it really needs. A great example would be “Im feeling low in energy, I need some chocolate,” versus “my energy levels are low, what does my body need right now?” and feeding that need with a good source of protein and/or some good fats, maybe even having a little rest. Obviously this example doesn’t apply if you are feeling really sick and need something asap to settle the nausea or vomiting.

Below I have included a few recipes that would work well for pregnant ladies. These recipes all make extra so you can either store in the fridge or freeze in portions so you have good food on hand at all times!

 

Chicken Stock

Making your own stock is super easy and an excellent way to spend some time on the weekend.

Stock is really nutritious as it is full of minerals and electrolytes, it aids digestion and soothes the gut. Given stock is cooked slowly over time it is an excellent way to get protein into your diet and it is easy for the body to uptake the nutritional value within it for the same reason. Store bought stocks are very processed and usually laden with extra salt and flavouring, plus making your own will make you feel like Maggie Beer (my kitchen hero.) If you are pregnant, your cooked stock will be plain and highly nutritious o it ticks all the boxes for you & your growing baby.

When I make stock, it is always a little different every time depending on what veggies I have on hand. Here is the basic recipe for you.

Ingredients

makes 3-4 litres

  • 1 whole organic chicken, plus some extra bits if possible. I usually ask my lovely butcher for some extra necks and feet, otherwise you can add in some wings or drumsticks.
  • 4 litres of filtered water (to cover chicken in the pot)
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 leek
  • 1-2 sticks of celery
  • 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • a few bay leaves
  • a few sprigs thyme, sage or chives (whatever you have handy)
  • a dash of vinegar (this draws the minerals out of the bones and into your broth.)

Method

  1. Roughly chop the veggies
  2. put all ingredients into a big soup pot and cover with water. Add extra if you need to as it important that everything is well covered.
  3. Bring to the boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for as long as you can. Minimum of 3 hours, I like to aim for 6-7 hours.
  4. Pul out the bigger bits of chicken and then pour the stock through a sieve.
  5. Discard the veggies (I feed mine to our dogs)
  6. Pour the stock into a container large enough to hold it and once it has cooled slightly, place it in the fridge to allow the fat to settle on the top.
  7. Pick all the chicken off the bones and keep it. If you are making chicken soup, you can use it straight away, otherwise freeze extra chicken in portions and add to salads, soups and snacks.
  8. Once the fat has congealed on top of your soup mixture, scoop most of it off and your stock is ready to go. You can discard the chicken fat or keep to roast vegetables in.
  9. If you are making soup, use the stock that you need and freeze unused portions. I usually do this in 500ml blocks so I can use it later to make a quick soup- with leftover chicken and some veggies or when I am cooking other things.

Stock keeps for about 5 days in the fridge and several months in the freezer, just ensure that it is airtight.

If I am planning on making stock and have recently roared a chicken I will freeze the roasted carcass & add that to my stock pot too.

chicken

Quick chicken soup

Anything goes here, you could add more veggies, less spices, add some seaweed or whatever else you have handy.

 

Ingredients

Serves 1

  • 500ml chicken stock
  • handful of cooked chicken (this is where your leftover chicken from the stock comes in handy)
  • 1/2 chilli finely chopped
  • 2cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 small carrot finely chopped
  • Bok choy or choy sum, chopped
  • A handful of coriander

Method

  • Add all ingredients except bok chou and coriander in a saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes
  • Add bok choy and coriander and serve.

 

Check out Nourishing a pregnant body part 2 for more recipes.